The issue of secularisation is discussed in various religious traditions. For example, in the secular states like India, it has been argued that the need was to legislate for toleration and respect between quite different religions; whereas the secularisation of the West was a response to intra-Christian tensions between Catholicism and Protestantism. Some have therefore argued that Western secularisation is radically different in that it deals with autonomy from religious regulation and control. Considerations of both tolerance and autonomy are relevant to any secular state.
In the Western world, the separation of state and church is seen as necessary for a truly democratic state system.The churches accept the separation of state and church in general, but see a danger in secularism and their symptoms, mostly in relation to the expected loss of values. But do we have less values as a nonreligious person?
The future ability of value conceptions cannot be left to a godlike authority or one single culture or tradition, but belong to a century lasting fights related to enlightment and humanism against already exisiting and authoritarian state system. In such situations, the dignity and autonomy of each human individual and its most possible freedom are realized through democracy, constitutional state systems, a global citizenship and human rights and can be seen as a garantee of the value consence. In other words, secularisation argues that individuals increasingly look outside of religion for authoritative positions.
Nepal was marked through separations and fights along the maoistic people´s war, through boycotts during election periods and murderers. It is a fight, a way of tears and violence,of power and ups and downs between authoritian legislative power and maoistic rebellion. The first unfinished tries of 1990 for the urgent social, political and economical change seem to get realized now after a long battle. But some months later, dissatisfaction and frustration are again setting into the expectations. Again, politicians have started to follow their own traditional interests and thrown away all claims due to the survival of the society. But the civil society wont allow this to happen!
With this youth conference, IHEYO, as a civil society, wants to offer a platform for further discourse by inviting young people to strengthen their opinions about secular values while discussing possibilities and realisations in common ways. These discussions should at least lead to an integrated education of human rights and to a strict neutrality of states to religions and other orientations.
As youngsters, we are believing in our will power, in our strength to influence, to give motivation to people in Nepal working day by day for a better democratic and secular system, and finally to give support to our Asian friends.
So, back to the question I asked earlier: 'Can Secularism Save Ailing Religious Nations?'. My answer is no, but it is a step into the right direction.
Most genes have deep histories, with ancestors that reach down into the tree of life, sometimes all the way back to bacteria. The gradual increase from the few thousand genes in a bacterium to the tens of thousands of genes in a person came primarily through genome- and gene-duplication events, which created extra sets of genes free to evolve new sequences and new functions. Much of this duplication happened long before humans evolved, though some duplications occurred in the human lineage to create exclusively human twins of existing genes.
But in 2006, geneticists showed for the first time that they could identify truly novel genes. In fruit flies, they came across five young genes that were derived from "noncoding" DNA between existing genes and not from preexisting genes. As a result, other researchers started looking for novel genes in other species.
Meanwhile, while looking for gene duplications in humans, geneticists Aoife McLysaght and David Knowles of Trinity College Dublin kept coming across genes that seemed to have no counterparts in other primates, suggesting that new genes arose in us as well. To determine which of these genes with no counterparts were de novo genes, McLysaght and Knowles first used a computer to compare the human, chimp, and other genomes. They eliminated all but three of the 644 candidates because their sequence in the database was not complete--or they had equivalents in other species.
Next, they searched the chimp genome for signs of each gene's birth. "We strove hard to identify the noncoding DNA that gave rise to the gene," McLysaght says. Only by finding that DNA could they be sure that the gene wasn't already present in the chimp genome but was somehow unrecognizable to gene-finding programs. At three locations where the chimp and human genomes were almost identical, telltale mutations indicated that it was impossible to get a viable protein from the chimp DNA sequence.
The Humanistiskungdom, youth arm of the Human Etisk Forbund, Norway, carried out an advocacy project recently to sensitize the Norwegian youths on the membership letters sent to many of them by the Norwegian Church.
Information about the choice card:
The Norwegian Church sent out letters with optional cards to all voting members of the Norwegian Church.
The humanistiskungdom action
They see it as an excellent opportunity to clean up the mess in membership alloted by the church as the people will know whether they are members of the Church or not. 140,000 unbaptized children of parents who are members of the Church is registered as "the member". The Norwegian Church does not know when babies are registered, and those belonging to remain a member in the register at the age of 18. But according to Norwegian law, everyone has authority over his/her own life when you are 15 years. This means that you have the right to decide what religion you want, or if you want to have a religion at all.
The humanistiskungdom campaigned vigorously and enlightened many young humanists on their right to belong to either the Church or the Humanist fold.Today, the product of that advocacy which complimented that organised by the parent body, HEF, is the attainment of 75,000 membership.
C/o Ibadan University Humanist Society
Department of Philosophy
University of Ibadan
He was like most Islamic Philosophers, also a jurist, a man of letters and a scientist. He lived in Cordoba for some time, and also shuttled between Cordoba and Marakesh. This was one Islamic Cultural Formation was one single, open area. Open for ideas, philosophy, people, merchants, travel, etc. until the First World War i.e. only 80 years ago. No visa was required to go from country to country. There were no boundaries until recently. Ibn Rushd was introduced to the court of Muagida Mugavid, the Sultan, who was impressed by his Philosophy. He was appointed a judge and was very close to the court. Later fell out of favor.
According to Ibn Rushd, there is no conflict between religion and philosophy, rather that they are different ways of reaching the same truth. He believed in the eternity of the universe. He also held that the soul is divided into two parts, one individual and one divine; while the individual soul is not eternal, all humans at the basic level share one and the same divine soul.
Ibn Rushd has two kinds of Knowledge of Truth. The first being his knowledge of truth of religion being based in faith and thus could not be tested, nor did it require training to understand. The second knowledge of truth is philosophy, which was reserved for an elite few who had the intellectual capacity to undertake this study.
What a great contribution to church-state separation!
At last someone has said it. At least as far as I know, it's the first time it's been said in a major English newspaper. On September 20 of last year, the Daily Telegraph — England's largest quality national daily — carried an article about the problems the French government is having with some of its Muslims. "At the start of the school year," the report ran, "several Muslim girls nationwide were suspended or expelled for arriving at schools with their heads covered." In most French state schools this is forbidden. The French educational authorities see the wearing of headscarves by Muslim girls in state schools as a statement of religious belief, which — in the words of the relevant government document — would "constitute an act of intimidation, provocation, proselytizing, or propaganda."
To defuse this potentially explosive situation, the French education ministry has appointed a special official to mediate between the Muslims and the local education authorities. The press have nicknamed this official "Madame Foulard" — Mrs. Headscarf.
Secularism is an Expression of Humanism
By Daniel Baril
The American president, who refers to the will of God to justify each of his political decisions, declares unequivocably that he welcomes "faith to help solve the nation's deepest problems." This is not the banal opportunism of a politician seeking to increase his popular appeal: George W. Bush, a confirmed fundamentalist, really thinks that God is with him, and hence with the United States.
Several commentators remarked on Bush's exaggerated piety following the September 11th attacks when he launched his "crusade against the axis of evil". But in fact he originally arrived in the political arena claiming, like Claude Ryan, to be invested with a divine mission: "I came to the White House," declared Bush, "because I found faith. I found God. I am here because of the power of prayer." And George W. Bush prays, as he himself says, in order to thank "a generous, all-powerful God", the same God who commands him to maintain the death penalty and to oppose the right to abortion.
Read more: http://www.iheyo.org/node/928
The American president, who refers to the will of God to justify each of his political decisions, declares unequivocably that he welcomes "faith to help solve the nation's deepest problems." This is not the banal opportunism of a politician seeking to increase his popular appeal: George W. Bush, a confirmed fundamentalist, really thinks that God is with him, and hence with the United States. Several commentators remarked on Bush's exaggerated piety following the September 11th attacks when he launched his "crusade against the axis of evil". But in fact he originally arrived in the political arena claiming, like Claude Ryan, to be invested with a divine mission: "I came to the White House," declared Bush, "because I found faith. I found God. I am here because of the power of prayer." And George W. Bush prays, as he himself says, in order to thank "a generous, all-powerful God", the same God who commands him to maintain the death penalty and to oppose the right to abortion.
This thought process, whether it be motivated by Christian, Muslim, Jewish or other faith, can only exacerbate political tensions when it becomes the reference frame in which a head of state bases his analyses and formulates his decisions. When that head of state is the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, economically, politically and militarily, and when he justifies his actions not on the basis of rational policy but rather religious fervour, then there is good reason to be worried. The convergence of religious fundamentalism, politics and military might is the perfect recipe for fanaticism which runs the risk of leading to fascism. In a recent book, the economist Rodrigue Tremblay advances the idea that the United States, if it continues on its current path, is in danger of becoming to the 21st century what Germany was to the 20th. Wake up brothers and sisters!
A truly secular state distances itself completely from all that is religious, but does so without opposing religion. In this respect, Canada--a monarchy whose constitution recognizes the supremacy of God and whose head of state is also the head of a church--displays paradoxically a tradition and a political culture which are decidedly more secular that those of its republican neighbour.
But if religious fundamentalism can so easily insinuate itself into the halls of power of a democratic republic, then there is every reason to fear that the same could happen in a monarchy founded on the recognition of the supremacy of God. Just imagine what could ensue if the Alliance Party came to power. In order to prevent the slide into religious fanaticism, it is urgent that Canada, and Quebec in the context of sovereignty, adopt a declaration of state secularism as exemplified by French and Mexican models.
Secularism in its truest form is indeed much more than a mere separation of religions from the state. Secularism is the republican ideal embodied in the protection of fundamental human rights. All charters which recognize liberty of conscience and equality of individuals, without discrimination based on sex, race or religion, are expressions of the quintessence of secularism.
Secularism is in fact an expression of humanism
Of course, the secularism of the state cannot in and of itself prevent wars and is not a sufficient condition for democracy; the example of certain totalitarian regimes reminds us of that fact. Nevertheless, it is a necessary condition for peace among individuals, among groups, and among nations. Secularism promotes the lessening of tensions and encourages political realism rather than religious fanaticism. Today's world is in great need of it.
Daniel Baril was vice-president of the Mouvement laïque québécois (MLQ, Quebec Secular Movement) when this article was written in 2003.
"for blindfolding many from daily realities of life, for bearing so mUch grudges against critical inquiry; for waging an open and secret war against science; for corrupting the youths with indoctrination; for deceiving people with hope of heaven and lake of fire that do not exist; for being intolerant of opposing views and lastly, for your inability to control those that sheepishly follow you, Mr or Ms (or whatever designation you prefer) Religion,I WANT YOU DEAD"
Yep! If you would like to know, I truly wanted religion dead at the time.
Unfortunately, the editor considered the piece too harsh; appreciated it but never published it. That was six years ago. But having been schooled in the true tenets of humanism in the last half a decade, I have come to realise that the the verdict of the indictment/miniature charge sheet should have been: YOU ARE HEREBY BANISHED FROM THE PUBLIC DOMAIN and RESTRICTED, ONLY AND ONLY, TO PRIVATE AFFAIRS!
That is the spirit of secularism that many humanist will gladly embrace today: a clear-cut separation of the state from the church, an expulsion of the Holy See from the United Nations, a fight against an imposition of Shari'ah anywhere, an absolute tolerance and co-existence of atheistic and theistic views in the global space. And that, to me, is secularism!
Yemi Ademowo Johnson